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20 July 2016, 12:55
Parking officers in Gravesham will be issued with body warn CCTV cameras after a rise in abuse towards them at work and to help to settle disputes over issuing fines.
The cameras will be introduced on Monday (25 July) as there has been an increase in aggressive incidents in the past 12 months according to Gravesham Borough Council.
The council reports all incidents to Kent Police and it is hoped the new body worn video cameras will provide them with clear evidence to help take action against offenders.
It comes after an incident where a civil enforcement officer was allegedly assaulted outside a school and suffered head injuries causing him to be off work for several weeks. The police were unable to prosecute due to lack of evidence.
The cameras will remain off most of the day but will be switched on when a fine is issued and if there is any dispute. The uniform will carry a clear warning that the camera may be used.
Council leader Cllr John Cubitt said: “The safety of our officers is paramount and we will not tolerate any level of abuse or physical attack. There is an easy way for motorists to avoid a penalty notice – just park legally. There is never an excuse to assault or abuse public servants who are doing their jobs.
“Our officers are trained in conflict management and they know how to defuse a situation. However, it can be very difficult to reason with some people and I hope these cameras will make those individuals think twice before they do something they might regret.
“These officers do an important job, helping to keep our roads safe and enabling people to find somewhere to park in busy areas.”
“I hope these cameras make a difference to the behaviour of the small minority of motorists who try to intimidate, threaten and in some cases, attack our officers”